Early Bird returning to its roots to Northside
Early Bird Biscuit Co. is returning to its buttery roots with a location in Northside, it was announced earlier this week. When the biscuit purveyor announced they were moving out of their original postage stamp-sized location in Lakeside, there were cries of joy from those living in the Fan and sounds of sorrow from those in Northside. Those frowns can turn upside down now as the biscuits are coming back to Northside. But fear not, those of you living near the Fan location at 119 N. Robinson Street. This is a second location so you’re biscuit fix isn’t going anywhere. Richard Hayes has all the buttery goodness right here.
New biscuit donut combo rising in Short Pump
In other biscuit news–well, biscuit AND donut news–a North Carolina-based biscuit chain has set its sights on Short Pump. Rise Biscuits & Donuts will soon open a storefront on W. Broad Street across from Short Pump Town Center and offer both. Because why only offer one trendy food item when you can offer two? Seems like a recipe for success to me. Alix Bryan has all the details you crave.
Rappahannock closed following vent fire
Rappahannock Restaurant is closed following a fire in the restaurant’s vent system on the roof last Sunday. No one was injured and the damage doesn’t seem too severe, but it was enough that the restaurant will be closed for the foreseeable future. Co-owner Travis Croxton praised his team for evacuating guests who were dining at the time, saying, “All reports indicate that our management team did an incredible job of getting everyone out quickly and orderly, and everyone is safe and sound.” Bryan DeVasher has more info and some photos from the scene over at the RTD.
Richmond Black Restaurant Week continues
Have you checked out any of the awesome black-owned restaurants offering up two-and three-course meals for Richmond Black Restaurant Week yet? If not, what are you waiting for? Delicious spots like Mama J’s, Sugar’s Crab Shack, Croaker’s Spot, and Spoonbread Bistro will take part in the week-long event, which benefits Renew Richmond, a nonprofit dedicated to nutrition education. Two-course lunches are $15; three-course dinners are $25. Get the scoop here.
Style Weekly names 2017 Restaurant of the Year
Nota Bene in Shockoe Bottom has taken home the prize as Style Weekly’s 2017 Restaurant of the Year, it was revealed in the publication’s State of the Plate issue on newsstands this week. The quaint Italian eatery is as full of charm and inventive cuisine as it is romantic and cozy. And while I always strive to stay fair and unbiased, I’ll unabashedly admit this is hands down one of my favorite spots in Richmond (my fiancé and I usually split the Fig & Pig Pizza and the Lamb Sugo Pappardelle when we go–because we’re consistent, not predictable, okay?!). Brandon Fox has a great look at the restaurant’s history (they started at Pizza Tonight) and some mouthwatering photos of a few of Nota Bene’s signature dishes. Read on and prepare to be mega-hungry.
Nota Bene to host renowned Italian chef March 19th
Nota Bene is also hosting a book dinner featuring chef and author Letizia Mattiacci on Sunday, March 19th. Entitled “A Wood-Fired, Umbria-Inspired Book Dinner,” the five-coure dinner will feature stories and recipe’s from the Ubria, Italy-bown chef’s new book, A Kitchen With A View. Letizia owns Alla Madonna del Piatto bed and breakfast and cooking school where she has offered hands-on classes for over a decade. She also harvests olives and produces small-batch oils. Chef Randall Doetzer will collaborate with Letizia for a seasonal and regional wood-fired menu available through the evening. This five-course dinner is $65 per person with an additional wine pairing and Letizia’s book available during the event. A limited number of tickets will be available during each seating and can be purchased in advance. And now, to the delicious menu:
Onion & Chicory Soup
White Bean Salad with Herbs
Braised Wild Boar & Polenta
Cheese, Fruit, Nuts, Honey
Setting the mood at your favorite restaurants
Ever wonder how your favorite restaurants set the mood and make things really special? More thought goes into it than you might have even thought. Karen Newton, writing for Style Weekly, takes a peek into what it takes to create that special ambience, from the lighting to the decor and beyond. Check it out and prepare to learn a thing or two!
Food News: Top-tier pho and ramen coming soon, the current state of #rvadine, a Taste of Richmond, and a rooftop juice bar
The week in food
It’s almost go-time for the new Pho 95 Hi Ky Mi Gia concept at Willow Lawn, and I’m excited because I love nothing more than a delicious bowl of hot pho this time of year, and this place is dangerously close to my day job. Eileen Mellon at Richmond Magazine says married couple and co-owners Christine and Steven Phan have quite a following on the pho circuit. Here’s a little more about them and when you can expect the restaurant to officially open.
Speaking of hot bowls of awesome, a popular DC ramen joint is heading to Richmond for one night only. Toki Underground will pop up at Carytown cocktail bar The Jasper on Sunday, March 1st at 5:00 PM. Tickets are $16 per person and you can be guaranteed they’ll sell out. Karri Peifer has the absolutely delicious-looking menu over on Richmond.com for your viewing pleasure.
Speaking of special events and the RTD, they’ll host their Taste of Richmond event at the Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa in Short Pump on May 3rd. This year’s featured restaurants include Mama J’s, Mantu, Dover Hall, the Salty Pig, Hobnob, La Vita E’Bella Ristorante Italiano, Fall Line Kitchen & Bar, Natalie’s Taste of Lebanon, Texas de Brazil, and more. An all-access pass to enjoy unlimited samples is $75, and there’s a discount code available here.
Over at Richmond Magazine, Piet Jones has an excellent snapshot of the current moment in Richmond’s dining scene evolution through interviews with industry veterans including An Bui, Kelli Lemon, Michelle Jones, and others who have been instrumental in the #rvadine scene’s meteoric rise.
There’s a new kind of rooftop bar coming to the Fan. No, this one won’t be overflowing with spirits a la Scott’s Addition, but rather, a rooftop juice bar. The Pit and the Peel is moving their VCU location a block from where they currently are, having recently purchased a building at 1210 W. Main Street. This seems like a really cool idea and – if they’re investing just south of a million on a full renovation, clearly the VCU location is doing quite well. More here.
The Big Kitchen, Tazza Kitchen’s gourmet to go, Brew Thru-style concept in Scott’s Addition closed months ago, so seeing that the closure just now made the news over at BizSense surprised me, but then again maybe I was the only one who went there almost weekly. Picking up dinner to go there was tasty, convenient, and dare I say fun – all the convenience of a fast-food drive-thru with far superior food and service by Tazza. That said, most times I picked up, my order was the lone bag sitting on the shelf of the glass door refrigerators in the covered bay. So I wasn’t totally surprised, albeit definitely disappointed, when they closed. All that said, looks like the owners are brewing up a new restaurant concept for the space. Mike Platania at Richmond BizSense has more.
- Croaker’s Spot (Style Weekly)
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Food News: A “last last call” for Comfort, 24 hours in “Hell” with Gordan Ramsay, and #rvadine regulars
The week in food
If you didn’t get a chance to get into Comfort before the restaurant officially closed for business, you’ll have one more chance this weekend. The restaurant will reopen Saturday night for a “last last call” party. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Stop in at 6:00 PM until everything’s gone – and that includes food, booze (even rare bourbons apparently), and some of the restaurant’s memorabilia. It’s your last chance to enjoy the iconic restaurant. Yes, really this time. More here.
What happens when Gordan Ramsay shows up at your restaurant dressed as an old church lady at your restaurant? You spend the next 24 hours in the kitchen filming a TV show, as one local restaurant owner found out. Shane Roberts-Thomas, the owner of Southern Kitchen in Jackson Ward, was recently featured on Ramsay’s TV show “24 Hours To Hell And Back” which airs on FOX. Ramsay typically disguises himself when he shows up at restaurants who have agreed to participate in the show. She was contacted in advance about the possibility of a TV show filming there, but she didn’t know which one she’d be on – or if it would happen. She spent the next day (yes, non-stop) filming. Karri Peifer with the RTD has a great interview with Roberts-Thomas in advance of the episode, which airs Friday night at 9:00 PM. Check it out here.
A new chicken wing joint is coming to the Fan. The Cocky Rooster, at 2523 W. Main Street across from 3 Monkeys, won’t just be another restaurant with wings, but rather one that focuses on them, with other offerings. The joint will supposedly be open until 3:00 AM on the weekends, competing with nearby Benny Ventano’s Pizza that caters to the late-night, post-bar (read: hammered) crowd. Richmond BizSense has all the details here.
HogsHead Café, a popular and delicious barbecue and comfort food joint in the West End (one that I discovered by accident about six months ago), is moving to a bigger location. They’ll take over the space formerly occupied by Havana ’59’s West End outpost before it closed. I always like to see locally-owned West End restaurants, which are increasingly fewer and farther between, succeeding amongst the bevy of chains. More here.
Over at Richmond Magazine, Genevelyn Steele has an intriguing interview with bar regulars (we’re talking folks that, in some cases, are at their favorite haunt almost every night) and what keeps bringing them back. We’re running the gamut here from L’Opossum to Home Team Grill. I found this one fascinating. Read it here.
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Food News: Fighting Fish and Canasta’s expands, grocery store love, and a new taqueria in the Fan
The week in food
As we settle into February, the Richmond restaurant scene is a bit dimmer without several mainstays among the ever-growing crowd that is the Richmond dining scene. Comfort and Aloi served their last meals since we last talked, and Acacia mid-town closes after service on Saturday evening. But 2020 promises new restaurants, concepts, and ways to push the #rvadine scene to the next level, no doubt.
For their part, Acacia is having a restaurant yard sale of sorts following their closure. Everything from wine and glassware to tables and chairs is up for grabs on Tuesday, February 11th from 3:00 until 6:00 PM. Check out how you can get your hands on a piece of the restaurant’s history here.
In the new restaurant realm, Richmond Restaurant Group’s latest venture, Barrio Taqueria & Tequila, is now open in the former Pearl Raw Bar space. I stopped by last Friday night and checked out their digs. The tacos, available on either flour or corn tortillas, are pretty tasty, especially the carne asada variety. The street corn (served shaved off the cob) and margaritas are both on point, too. This will be a cool hangout in the spring and summer months with the new garage doors installed around the building to allow in fresh air. Check out my photos here, and Karri Peifer has a writeup.
Jackson Ward hole-in-the-wall Fighting Fish is expanding its empire with a second location in Scott’s Addition, Richmond BizSense reports. The restaurant, which offers tasty sushi, sushi burritos, poke bowls, and more will take over the former Elsa Ethiopian restaurant on Arthur Ashe Boulevard near the 7-Eleven. More on the new location here.
Our intrepid southside reporter Richard Hayes has news of Canasta’s Chicken, a Peruvian chicken outlet with an existing location on S. Laburnum Avenue, opening in Stratford Hills. I’ve never been, but he likens the menu to Chicken Fiesta, but more Peruvian leaning than Tex-Mex. Check out his report here.
I’ve said it for years (and our website hits back it up) – Richmonders love their grocery stores. Whole Foods Market opened its new location in the Fan last week, and a crowd that stretched around the block welcomed the grocer with open arms. Style Weekly’s Phaedra Hise opines on something that hadn’t even occurred to me: they may be the first to be able to pick up where Ukrop’s left off in terms of offering a higher quality product and service – where other grocers have failed in the past decade (Martin’s, anyone?). The company even hired a thirty-year Ukrop’s alum to run the store. Read her story here.